Guelph Storm take Ryan Merkley first overall in OHL draft

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TORONTO — The Guelph Storm did the expected Saturday, taking Toronto Jr. Canadiens defenceman Ryan Merkley first overall in the Ontario Hockey League midget draft.

The five-foot-11, 160-pound Merkley served as the Jr. Canadiens’ captain this season, registering seven goals and 37 assists in 33 games. The 15-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., the Greater Toronto Hockey League player of the year, also had 58 penalty minutes.

The Storm — which posted a league-worst 13-49-4-2 record this season — announced Friday they’d take Merkley at No. 1.

The Sudbury Wolves followed suit, taking defenceman Owen Lalonde, a six-foot, 174-pound native of Windsor, Ont., second overall.

Connor Roberts, a six-foot-three, 205-pound centre from Owen Sound, Ont., was the third player selected by the Hamilton Bulldogs.

The Saginaw Spirit took Blade Jenkins, a six-foot, 167-pound forward from Jackson, Mich., at No. 4.

The Flint Firebirds, whose owner Rolf Nilsen was suspended for five years by the OHL earlier this week, selected Ty Dellandrea, a six-foot, 167-pound forward from Port Perry, Ont., fifth overall. The Firebirds are currently under the direction of league commissioner David Branch.

Rounding out the top-10 were forward Danil Antropov (No. 6 by Oshawa). right-winger Kirill Nizhnikov (No. 7 by Mississauga), forward Pavel Gogolev (No. 8 by Peterborough), centre Barrett Hayton (No. 9 by Sault Ste Marie) and centre Aidan Dudas (No. 10 by Owen Sound).

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